If Michael Vick plays in the NFL this year and does relatively well, there should be strong consideration for "agent of the year" for his rep, Joel Segal. The future for Vick, whose 20-month sentence for running a dog fighting ring in Virginia was completed Monday, is one giant question just waiting to be answered.
There have been rumors that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could meet with Vick this week to discuss reinstatement to the league. If all goes well, that opens the door for teams to take the leap of faith with the quarterback who once showed a potential for greatness.
As chief moderator for Vick, Segal has an order to fill so tall I don't know if even the limelight-loving Scott Boras would want to attempt this one. (Well, on second thought, the commission would be too small for Boras to give a second thought as teams surely won't want to spend much on what's considered a huge risk.)
Vick could be one of the toughest clients in sports right now. In fact the only thing going for him is that he's high-profile. It's a high risk, high reward investment of Segal's time and his own reputation. If he pulls it off -- helps Vick publicly reshape his image, prove to teams he can still throw and that he is a trustworthy guy -- Segal is a genius. Think Jerry Maguire.
If his client fails in any of those areas, he's the schmuck who tried to do the impossible. Or, worse, the credibility of his word and reputation with NFL teams suffer. It's a narrow line to walk and there's a lot of pressure and a lot of people watching to see if both men succeed.
Then there's the question of sponsorships. If they pull it off and Vick has a good season, will the sponsors then come a knocking? It seems doubtful because the season is so grueling, it doesn't leave much time for PR work. So that means in the dream scenario, the real image reshaping would start in February.
A lot can happen in a year. But I still don't see a client like Vick being the face of any product for a good while. It makes me wonder what Segal's really getting out of this deal with a client that not going to make him much money in the short term.
Maybe his other clients, such as Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes, are enough for him. Or does Segal just have faith in Vick? Is he getting a larger-than-average commission?